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Free As a Bird / Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
First released: 1995, December 4
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Free As A Bird was recorded by John Lennon in demo form but never finished, and in 1994 the tape was entrusted to Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The outcome is an elevation of the simple beauty of John's original demo to a much higher level. Jeff Lynne, co-producer of the recording, modestly remarks, "It was tricky, but I think we've pulled it off."
From 1963 to 1969 the Beatles gave members of their official fan club a special gift at Christmas: a record unavailable elsewhere. The 1967 disc was titled Christmas Time (Is Here Again) and extracts from a song of that name were scattered among the sketches. Issued here for the first time is an uninterrupted recording of the number. Superimposed near the end are some spoken-word seasonal greetings, taped in 1966, followed by a John Lennon pastiche.
- Mark Lewishon sleevenotes of "Free As A Bird" single